Wacha returns with three strong innings against Brewers
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 04: Michael Wacha #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 04, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) By Mike McGinnis
By John Bailey
KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 5: Michael Wacha #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) By Ed Zurga
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 31: Starter Michael Wacha #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 31, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) By Dilip Vishwanat
By John Bailey
(BaseballStL) — Michael Wacha returned to action Thursday in Milwaukee and stepped right back rhythm.
The big righty went three innings on 50 pitches, right around his predetermined limit. Appearing in control the whole game, the 23-year-old’s only hard-hit ball came off the bat of Jonathan Lucroy.
The Brewers’ catcher went the other way on a ball for a double, scoring the one run Wacha would allow.
In three innings, the former NLCS MVP allowed just three hits. Apart from Lucroy’s double, the other two success at the plate belonged to Gerardo Parra. Both of Parra’s hits were soft flares into left field, making Wacha’s return an impressive success.
He struck out three hitters and got three groundouts, walking only one. At times he hit 97 on the gun, showing impressive velocity to go with his signature change up.
The young star also tied his career high mark with 18 curveballs, a display of unexpected versatility in his first game action in 78 days.
St. Louis will evaluate Wacha after the game and Friday to see how his shoulder reacts to the performance, but with no reports of discomfort he will likely move forward as a member of the rotation. The next step would be to increase his pitch count by about 15-20 pitches, eventually working him up to the 100-pitch mark.
Marco Gonzales was the designated piggy back, coming in in the fourth to back up Wacha.